My internship was at the Cape County History Center in Jackson, Missouri. The internship took place during summer 2016, from May to August. The Cape Girardeau County History Center is administered and funded by the Cape Girardeau County Historical Society, and is supervised by Director Carla Jordan. The center displays historic exhibitions interpreting Cape Girardeau County’s history, and acts as an event/meeting facility for history related groups and functions. The center is held within a historically restored building on the National Register of Historic Places within the Historic District in uptown Jackson, Missouri.
The scope of my position as an intern was broad in nature. Some responsibilities included exhibit cleaning, exhibit setup and dissembling, and storage. On a weekly basis, I assisted in inventorying the gift shop, as well managed money for purchased items. I also aided Ms. Jordan with summer bus tours, and assisted tour visitors with historical and exhibit related questions. My project as an intern involved physically transplanting an archival library, including moving shelving and cataloging book/paper sources. I had the privilege of sitting in on informal meetings with the historical society and Jackson community members to discuss events and city planning. Last, I assisted during events, communicated with visitors and answered any questions, and kept the facility presentable by cleaning.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my summer internship experience at the Cape County History Center. Director Carla Jordan provided a professional learning experience that I hope to reflect back on when applying for employment after graduation. Under the guidance of Carla Jordan, I learned valued skills required when working in a regional museum. Perhaps the most valuable token gathered from having completed this internship is the knowledge of the sheer scope of a director’s position at a regional museum. The job requires a diverse collection of skills and abilities, many of which are not necessarily honed from having studied history. Duties in a position such as Jordan’s may include the following…: exhibit development and assembly, event planning, donation acquisition, marketing, public speaking, volunteer/employee management, as well as serving as a liaison between the historical society and community members.